[Ip-health] Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR): Shareholders Applaud Gilead Sciences Licensing Agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool

Thirukumaran Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Jul 13 04:49:21 PDT 2011


http://www.iccr.org/news/press_releases/2011/pr_patentpool071211.php

Shareholders Applaud Gilead Sciences Licensing Agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool

As the First Pharmaceutical Company to Join the Medicines Patent Pool, Gilead Leads the Industry in Improving Access to Life-Saving Medicines for Developing Companies.

New York, NY///July 12, 2011/// Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) today acclaim the decision of Gilead Sciences to become the first pharmaceutical company to join the Medicines Patent Pool. By making licenses available for vital HIV and Hepatitis B drugs, shareholders note that Gilead shows uncommon leadership and sets an example for the entire industry.

Said Judy Byron, OP, of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, “In 2004, when the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment (NWCRI) and ICCR shareholders asked Gilead Sciences to make its key HIV medicines accessible in developing countries where HIV/AIDS was now a pandemic, senior management committed to do this. Over the years Gilead Sciences has fulfilled its commitment through voluntary licenses, the first fixed-dose combination drug for HIV, and pediatric formulations. Today, we commend Gilead Sciences for its continuing leadership in global health.”

The Medicines Patent Pool was established in 2010 with the support of UNITAID to improve access to medicines for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria -- diseases that disproportionately impact the world’s poorest countries. The pool streamlines the production of vital formulations and offers legal certainty to all participants. Pharmaceutical companies can protect their business models by operating within the patent pool because it provides an alternative to pressure for compulsory licensing in countries with populations that cannot afford more expensive treatments.

Said Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management, “By taking this important step, Gilead Sciences sets an important precedent in promoting greater access to life-saving drugs through a new collaborative business model. We are hopeful that this will advance our dialogues with Gilead’s peers and strengthen the Patent Pool initiative.” 

The agreement allows for the production of the HIV medicines tenofovir, emtricitabine, cobicistat and elvitegravir and a “cocktail” of the four known as the “Quad”: the latter three medications are in clinical development and the licensing of these drugs will “significantly accelerate availability” according to Ellen T’Hoen, Executive Director of the Medicines Patent Pool.

“ICCR members have been actively encouraging the pharmaceutical companies in their portfolios to join the Medicine Patent Pool,” said ICCR Program Director for Human Rights David Schilling, “When companies recognize access to affordable life-saving medicines as a basic human right they also acknowledge their responsibility to make whatever adjustments are necessary to their business models to protect this right. Joining the Medicines Patent Pool is a crucial step in that direction.”

CONTACT: 
Susana McDermott
Director of Communications, ICCR
212-870-2938
smcdermott at iccr.org

About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR): 
Currently celebrating its 40th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change.  Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.


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Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

thiru at keionline.org



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